Dominika Semaňáková G'19

March 18, 2020

“Newhouse helped me understand how the music business and media cooperate. If you want to be successful in the music business, you need to know how these two fields work together.”

Dominika Semaňáková G'19
Dominika Semaňáková G'19 Courtesy of Dominika Semaňáková

Dominika Semaňáková graduated from the audio arts program, which is taught in conjunction with the College of Visual and Performing Arts, in 2019 with a focus on the music industry and the media. An international student from the Slovak Republic, Semaňáková was active in the Syracuse community and helped with Holidays at Hendricks, provided by Hendricks Chapel on campus. During her time at Syracuse, she also volunteered with the SU Catholic Center and interned with the Nashville Symphony.

As part of her final project she founded a web service called SATB.SK. This web portal provides information about choral activities and connects musical organizations with the community in the Slovak Republic. She currently works for non-profit organization in Slovakia and still runs SATB.SK as a new platform for Slovak musicians.

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?

Through Newhouse, I got an overview of media and its influence on the music business and I have learned how to work effectively with social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Also, I developed my communication and networking skills at the choral conference in Kansas where my teachers sent me. I was alone there among 7,000 people, and I got to know the most important directors from choral organizations from around the world.

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspect of your field you may have not considered when applying?

Newhouse helped me understand how music business and media cooperate. If you want to be successful in the music business, you need to know how these two fields work together. That was very crucial information for me.

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place?

I was looking for quality within the music industry education, and Syracuse University belongs to the best schools for the music business. Then I took a look at the other music activities that the university provides like a number of choirs, orchestras and recording studios. The aspect of teachers was important as well. I wanted to have teachers who understand how the music industry works, who worked with the best musicians in the world, who know how to pass their knowledge to others and who lead their students out of their comfort zones; and that is exactly what I got. The Audio Arts program has teachers who are professionals with a lot of experience in their field and are passionate about their jobs.

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?

A lot of students assume that [audio arts] is only about recording and sound engineering. I am not an audio person; my main focus was mostly on the music industry and media within classical music. For that reason, in the beginning, I was a little bit afraid that I was not in the right place. But that’s why you have your teachers. I talked to an advisor and other professors, and they assured me that I was in the right place. They helped to build my study program based on my field focus, and I loved it ever since because I have learned so many things. It does not matter if you are into hip-hop, rap, R&B, classical music or if you are into sound engineering or sound production—this program is for everybody who loves music and wants to work in the music industry.

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far?

The most exciting moment for me was to move to the U.S. to study at Syracuse University. It was an incredible experience. I left everything I had in my country behind me: my job, my family, my friends and I went alone into the unknown. This experience also included my internship at the Nashville Symphony in Tennessee, which was the highlight of my career. There, I learned the importance of teamwork and willingness, and it was the most inspiring work environment I have ever experienced.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students? Any classes or professors that you recommend?

I have three pieces of advice for current students. The first, don’t be afraid to ask a question, even if you think it is not a good one. From my experience, your teachers are willing to answer any of them. The second is to be present. Try not to use your phone or laptop while you have a class. I saw hundreds of students sitting the whole semester on social media, and trust me they missed so much. And the last thing, but probably the most important, is to stay positive. Many students were just grumbling for everything. Do not be one of them. Enjoy and appreciate what Syracuse University is giving to you. It is a lot, but you just need to open your eyes.


Find more information about the Audio Arts program here.